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  • Writer's picturekellygrigg

Rule changes steer families towards non-court dispute resolution

Family lawyers have welcomed changes to the family procedure rules coming into force today which could see more disputes resolved away from court.

Under the latest changes, parties at a mediation information and assessment meeting must be provided with information about the principles, process and different models of mediation, and other methods of non-court dispute resolution. The associated practice direction lists mediation, arbitration, evaluation by a neutral third party and collaborative law as examples of non-court dispute resolution.

The rules do not give courts the power to compel parties to attend non-court dispute resolution. However, courts will have a duty to consider at every stage in the proceedings whether non-court dispute resolution is appropriate. Parties could be asked to file a form setting out their views on using non-court dispute resolution as a means of resolving matters. Judges could take parties’ conduct in relation to attending non-court dispute resolution into account when considering whether to make a costs order.

Family lawyers welcomed the changes. Read the full article below.

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